Russian Vice Premier and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States John E. Robson discussed the drafting of a new framework agreement at their meeting in Washington, Mr. Kudrin said. The vice premier spoke to journalists in the American capital after his meeting with U.S. treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. According to Mr. Kudrin, the agreement is expected to be prepared and signed in the next four-six weeks. Mr. Kudrin said that the document speaks of "the new era in Russian-American relations, in particular, in debt policy and the issue of Ex-Im Bank's giving Russia credits on conditions of sovereign underwriting." Several aspects of the debt policy will be reconsidered. This includes an expansion of credits to the Russian Federation without sovereign underwriting. Major Russian banks will serve as underwriters. Other options of underwriting will also be used. The Russian vice premier also said that during the meeting, the Ex-Im Bank president and he discussed a number of areas in which the bank's participation could be increased. Mr. Kudrin and Mr. Robson touched upon an array of specific projects that are currently being developed. During the negotiations, the parties reached an agreement that the Russian side would supply additional information on the number of issues by the upcoming visit of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans to Russia on October 15-17. A representative of the Ex-Im Bank will join the U.S. delegation.
Russia has left the list of 33 largest holders of US government bonds, after the country disposed of at least a third of remaining bonds